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It’s not often that a console title can make the successful leap to a handheld, but when that handheld version actually surpasses the console in many key factors, you know you have something special.
— Mark Smith, Game Chronicles.

Grand Theft Auto series
chronology of events

2D Universe

1961London 1961
1969London 1969

3D Universe

1984Vice City Stories
1986Vice City
1992San Andreas

2D Universe

1997Grand Theft Auto

3D Universe

1998Liberty City Stories

2D Universe

1999Grand Theft Auto 2 (Possible)

3D Universe

2001Grand Theft Auto III

HD Universe

2008Grand Theft Auto IV
         – The Lost and Damned
         – The Ballad of Gay Tony
2009Chinatown Wars

2D Universe

2013Grand Theft Auto 2 (Possible)

HD Universe

2013–presentGrand Theft Auto Online
2013Grand Theft Auto V

Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories is the fifth game (the fourth chronologically) in the 3D Universe of the Grand Theft Auto series. It was the first GTA game released for the PlayStation Portable. Set in Liberty City in 1998, it is a prequel to the events of Grand Theft Auto Advance and Grand Theft Auto III, and the chronological sequel to Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. The game was later ported for the PlayStation 2, Apple iOS and Android.

A unique aspect of the game is that its setting, Liberty City, is not only the same as the earlier Grand Theft Auto III, but the general layout of the city has remained virtually unchanged (except for some key differences due to GTA Liberty City Stories taking place three years earlier than GTA III). As such, players familiar with Liberty City as it appeared in GTA III have an advantage of already being familiar with much of the geography (likewise, players following the games chronologically who move on to GTA III will also be familiar with the layout).

Game Information


There are a million stories in Liberty City. This one changes everything. Once a trusted wise guy in the Leone crime family, Toni Cipriani was forced into hiding after killing a made man. Now he's back and it's time for things to be put right.

The streets of Liberty City are in turmoil. Warring Mafiosi vie for control as the town begins to self-destruct under waves of political corruption, organized crime, drug trafficking and union strikes. No one can be trusted as Toni tries to clean up the mess of the city's chaotic underworld. Deranged hit men, morally depraved tycoons, cynical politicians and his own mother stand in his way as Toni tries to bring the city under Leone control.

Forced to fight for his life in an odyssey that will shake Liberty City to its foundations, Toni must use any means necessary to secure his place in the leadership of the Leone family in a town up for grabs.
— Game's description
GTA LCS Main Protagonist, Toni Cipriani

Toni Cipriani's boss Salvatore Leone of the Leone Family introduces Toni to the family's capo Vincenzo Cilli and persuades Toni do some work for him. Later Vincenzo informs Toni that former Leone member, now Sindacco Family bartender Joseph Daniel O'Toole or "JD", wants to rejoin the Leones and explains that they will use JD as an inside man. Vincenzo's final request to Toni is to pick up his car but is a police ambush set up by Vincenzo. Toni escapes the police and cuts his ties with Vincenzo. Toni begins to do some work for JD to pay off JD's debt to Toni and to further disrupts the Sindaccos. Toni returns to see his Ma and does some work for her to prove himself to her such as taking an embarrassing photo of Giovanni Casa, taking out some Triad shipments, racing and killing Sucho and murdering Casa at the sawmill. Ma is still not impressed and calls a hit on Toni, though Toni survives the hit and escapes.

Toni starts to do some more work for Salvatore by persuading union boss Jane Hopper to obey Salvatore's demands. Salvatore's wife Maria Latore then blackmails Toni to work for her to get her and Toni out of trouble and later does a deal with the Cartel for Salvatore. Toni does some more work for JD who soon explains that the Sicilian Mafia are trying to broker a peace between the families.

However, Salvatore smells a rat and wants someone to follow the Sicilian boss Massimo Torini. Toni follows Torini's chopper and overhears a conversation between Torini and the Diablos promising them Hepburn Heights if they help the Sicilians. Toni continues following Torini and hears a conversation between Torini and the Triads promising them they will be taken care of if they co-operate with the Sicilians. However, the Triads spot Toni and Torini escapes in his chopper. JD informs Toni that he is going to be made and Mickey Hamfists joins Toni and JD to the ceremony in Harwood.

Instead of a ceremony however, Hamfists executes JD and explains to Toni that Salvatore could not trust JD as he could run on the Leones sooner or later. Toni drives Hamfists home and dumps JD's body. Vincenzo soon calls and request Toni to meet him at the freighter, Toni at first refuses but agrees after Vincenzo apologizes for his actions. Toni goes there only to find it a trap set by Vincenzo where he kills Vincenzo and all his men.

Salvatore soon informs Toni that the Leones are being pressured by the Triads and Diablos. Toni then pushes them back before traveling with Salvatore to Staunton after Salvatore explains that Mayor Roger C. Hole is going to blame Salvatore for everything and Toni later kills Mayor Hole and takes his cell phone to Salvatore. After doing all this Toni becomes a made man in the Leones having Ma call that hit off Toni. Salvatore soon explains that the Forellis had Mayor Hole in their pocket and there is a new election for mayor and that their candidate Donald Love is competing Miles O'Donovan for mayor.

Toni helps Donald on Salvatore's orders combat O'Donovan's efforts. Salvatore and Toni later kidnap Mayor Hole's assistant where he reveals that the Sicilian Mafia controlled both Franco Forelli and the Forelli Family, wanting a war between the mob families where they would take over after the dust settles. Toni later helps Salvatore and the Leone family weaken the Forellis to help gain domination. Toni later does some work for Leone family corrupt cop Leon McAffery in weakening the Forellis and Sindaccos and helping the Yardies and later helps the reverend with the Liberty Tree article by helping it grow in fame. The reverend is discovered to be Liberty Tree reporter Ned Burner.

Love soon tells Toni that O'Donovan has links between him and Salvatore which is destroyed by Toni even though his revealed friendship with Love causes him to lose the election. Salvatore is later arrested by O'Donovan and Toni takes revenge on the Forellis for it. Salvatore soon reveals that Sindacco Family leader Paulie Sindacco helped the Forellis and the Sicilians put Salvatore in prison and Toni kills Paulie before he can escape by sea. Toni does one last favor for Salvatore by destroying a Yakuza tank in their lockup.

Love soon calls Toni and requests to meet him at his Flop-House. There he explains that he has a plan to get his wealth back and needs the plans for Fort Staunton from his former mentor Avery Carrington. Toni kills Avery and obtains the plans but is witnessed by Ned Burner and is killed by Toni on orders from Donald Love. Both corpses are obtained by Toni and taken to Avery's plane. Meanwhile, Toshiko Kasen hires Toni to work against her husband, Kazuki Kasen, the leader of the Yakuza, by stealing their weapons, decimating their finances and revealing his ties to Toshiko.

Kazuki then decides to kill Toshiko and Toni, but is murdered by Toni before he can do so and Toshiko commits suicide to be "truly free". Soon Love introduces Toni to 8-Ball and they annihilate the Fort Staunton district. Love then hides out in the Cartel mansion from the Colombian Cartel and escapes the city with Toni's help. Soon Salvatore reveals to Toni that he is being bailed out of prison but the Sicilians don't want that to happen so they can take over and Salvatore's convoy safely makes it to the court house with Toni's help.

Finally, Torini decides to kidnap O'Donovan to stop Salvatore's charges from being dropped. Salvatore and Toni chase Torini to Portland Rock where Toni slays Torini, ending the crisis. Salvatore then reveals to Toni that Torini, was the under boss and his elderly uncle was the boss. They have a meeting with him at Momma's Restaurant, where Uncle Leone admits defeat at the very end, and decides to return to Sicily in peace. Salvatore then thanks Toni for his effort and loyalty.

Liberty City - 1998

Apple iOS graphics.

At this earlier time in the GTA lineage, Liberty City is slightly different. For example, Luigi Goterelli's Sex Club 7 is named Paulie's Revue Bar, and is instead owned by Joseph Daniel O'Toole, a pervert working for the Sindacco crime family (also seen in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas), although the player sees how it becomes Sex Club Seven. Fort Staunton is an Italian neighborhood instead of a construction site, although its fate is explained in this game. Even the tallest tower in Liberty City in 1998 is only half of its height is compared to GTA III. The way to get from island to island has also been tweaked. A ferry now runs from Portland to Staunton Island, and the tunnel that connects the islands in GTA III has not yet been completed - only the section of the tunnel that runs from north Shoreside Vale to south Shoreside Vale is open. The Callahan Bridge (the bridge that was blown up at the start of Grand Theft Auto III) has also not been fully constructed yet. Only after the mission "Driving Mr. Leone", which occurs at around 19% completion, you can actually traverse the bridge as its construction progresses. In addition, motorbikes were previously permitted in the city. The official GTA Liberty City Stories websites reveal that motorbikes were no longer in GTA III due to a public ordinance that banned them that was supported by the Maibatsu Corporation (which marketed the oversized Monstrosity in GTA III) in order to promote the use of automobiles in the city. The street scenery is also different as well, buildings that are complete in 2001 are under construction in 1998. For example, the Tw@ Internet Cafe is under construction.


Major Gangs

Minor Gangs


On the PlayStation Portable, character movement is controlled using the analog stick and the D-pad being used to cycle through the available weapons. The Select button changes the camera mode. To target an enemy, the player holds the R Button and can then cycle through targets using left and right on the D-pad. While in a car, the L and R Buttons can be used for drive-by shootings. While in the midst of a mission, all enemies (that is, those directly relating to the mission) are indicated on the radar by red dots. In the game's menu, the player can choose to reverse the functions of the analog stick and D-Pad.

The PlayStation 2 version of Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories combines various gameplay mechanics from the PS2 versions of Grand Theft Auto III, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Camera control is similar to that of GTA San Andreas, while on-foot movement and gunplay are closer to GTA III or GTA Vice City. However, third-person free-aiming is available in GTA Liberty City Stories, which is used in GTA San Andreas. The ability to move the camera view around while driving is also maintained (it is noticeably absent in GTA III, along with an on-screen map of the city, which is featured in GTA Liberty City Stories).

The Mobile version of GTA Liberty City Stories uses the same controls with previous mobile titles - on-screen analog on the left moves Toni and the right side has on-screen controls for run/jump, attack, free aiming, answer/hang up phone calls and enter/exit vehicle. When in vehicles, players have the option to steer using on-screen analog, on-screen L/R buttons or swipe L/R to steer. Zooming and changing camera on foot is now done by pinch the screen with 2 fingers, and an additional "shoot" button is available on the left side so players can aim with their right hand (Only on certain weapons). There is no Target button in the Mobile version - players must tap on the enemies to target them with both firearms and melee. An option allows Toni will automatically target enemies in front of him when holding a gun however. Switching weapons and changing radio stations are done by swiping left/right on the weapon/radio station area. Differently from previous Grand Theft Auto titles on mobile, GTA Liberty City Stories features Look Left/Right buttons to perform drive-by instead of Shoot Left/Right, and there's an option to toggle or hold the button to look (so players can steer vehicles while performing drive-by easier).

One key difference between Toni in GTA Liberty City Stories and Carl Johnson in GTA San Andreas is Toni lacks the ability to climb, which renders accessing some locations - such as the Hidden Package location next to the Portland Island safehouse - difficult. Another difference is Toni is unable to swim, rendering any immersion in water deadly (as a result of removing the ability to swim, however, GTA Liberty City Stories renders it impossible for players to access locked areas before completing the Portland Island segment of the game; after Staunton Island is unlocked, it's possible to enter Shoreside Vale using the "car drives on water" cheat). A third difference that is key is that Toni lacks the ability to recruit gang members (unless the player uses the "recruit pedestrians" cheat). Finally Toni is unable to crouch (although the animation is seen on various cutscenes), so he is more exposed to gunfire during battles.

One improvement to the PS2 controls over GTA San Andreas is that during sub-missions such as Taxi Driver, the player is prompted to press the R3 button twice before cancelling a mission; in the earlier game, it was easy to accidentally push R3 and cancel a mission. However, it's still possible to accidentally quit several missions by hitting the PS3 Triangle.png key, exiting a vehicle, which in most cases will automatically end a driving-based sub-mission.

Gameplay changes from Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas required the player to regularly feed and exercise Carl Johnson in order to prevent him from losing health and abilities. This element of gameplay is eliminated with Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories. Also, while aircraft are visible in GTA Liberty City Stories and are even involved in a few missions, unlike GTA San Andreas the player does not have the ability to fly in this game. Gang Wars may take place in missions and are one of the main focuses of the game, but the player cannot win new territory in this game, a feature notably prominent in GTA San Andreas. Swimming has been eliminated and parkour has been simplified back to how it was in GTA III and GTA Vice City, which doesn't allow grabbing on to ledges or climbing.


The PSP version of Liberty City Stories has a multiplayer mode, for up to 6 players through wifi ad-hoc mode (same area). The game features 7 modes of wireless multiplayer gaming, in which various pedestrian and character models from the single player mode are available as player avatars. Rockstar removed these modes from the PS2 port of GTA Liberty City Stories.

The first is Liberty City Survivor, a tie-in to the radio advertisement found in GTA III of a fictional reality television show of the same name. In Liberty City Survivor, players fight for themselves in a deathmatch. The first player to reach a certain number of kills, or with the highest score when the timer runs out is the winner. Players can also play in teams, or "gangs". Ultimately players will be able to choose from over 60 different characters, and play on all three islands, depending on progress through the single player storyline, but from the get go, it is limited to Portland with a generous nine characters to choose from.

The second mode of play is Protection Racket, in which players attack an opposing player's gang base in order to destroy four limos while the other gang tries to protect its limos. When time runs out, or a gang destroys the other gang's limos, a new round begins with the gang roles reversed.

In Get Stretch, players try to steal the other gang's gang cars from their base and take it to their base. The game ends when a gang reaches the score limit or time runs out.

In The Hit List, players have to kill the Marked player as quickly as possible. Survive as long as possible when you are the Mark. In the first round, one player will be chosen randomly as the Mark, all other players must try to kill the Marked player as quickly as possible. Once a Marked player has been killed, a different player will be randomly chosen to be the Mark. Making a successful kill on a Marked player will award you with extra time that is added to your survival time at the end of the game. Once all players have been Marked and killed, the player with the longest survival time wins. The Marked player's vehicle will take damage over time.

In Street Rage players must drive through the checkpoints to get to the finish line first. Players are allowed to change vehicles and shoot other players to win the race. Players will be automatically re-spawned in a vehicle on the track after a short period of time if they do not have a vehicle or if they have been killed. The player that finishes the race first wins. The Sticky Tires powerup improves vehicle handling for limited time, while Instant Repair is just that, an instant repair for your vehicle.

The Wedding List is a free-for-all game where players must collect cars scattered throughout the city and deliver them to shipping crates. Only players in the vehicles to be collected will know the destinations of the shipping crates. Cash is awarded based on the condition of the cars when they are delivered. Once all the cars have been collected and delivered, the player with the most cash wins this game mode.

In Tanks for the Memories players have to be the first to the tank and try to survive the target Tank Time. Other players must try to destroy the tank before the Tank Time is reached. If this happens, the player who caused the most damage to the tank will occupy a new tank and, as before, it must be destroyed as quickly as possible. This continues until a player reaches the Tank Time; this player is declared the winner.


Liberty City Stories features ten radio stations, which comprise a mix of both licensed music and tracks created specifically for the game. These are the same Radio Stations in GTA III but set 3 years before the events of GTA3 and are shown as earlier counterparts and some has ended broadcast by GTA3's timeline.

The ten radio stations are as follows:

Custom Soundtracks

A special feature (only in the PSP and Mobile version of the game) is the ability to listen to custom soundtracks. Previously, only Grand Theft Auto games on the Xbox and PC were able to implement custom soundtracks. When Liberty City Stories was released, the custom soundtracks option was featured in the "Audio" section of the menu (by pressing Start in gameplay) but did not have any use. Many people posted on various internet forums asking how to use the feature. At one time, it was thought that these custom soundtrack abilities had to be unlocked, but this would have been very unusual since previous games didn't do this.

A few days after release of the game, Rockstar placed the application called "Rockstar Custom Tracks v1.0" on the official site under the "Downloads" section. This then gave people the chance to use the custom soundtracks feature. The application appears to be based on Exact Audio Copy.

In the application, songs from a CD are ripped, compressed, and converted to files that can be read by the game. Because Rockstar Custom Tracks (RCT) only allow the ripping of songs that are from a store-bought CD, burning your downloaded songs onto a CD won't work. The only way to bypass this restriction is to use iTunes to put your music on a CD, as RCT recognizes iTunes-burned CD's as store-bought CDs. This was met with much criticism among the fan community. However, fans have found a way to compress and convert MP3 files that are not burned onto CD's. RCT can also look up and use the names from the FreeDB server if there are no names for the song(s). There must be at least one save file in order for RCT to work. It is thought that this will be used for other games Rockstar will release on the PSP from the name. More details can be found in the PDF in the file downloaded from the official site.

For the Mobile version of LCS, using custom soundtracks is simpler, as players only need to create a playlist titled GTA LCS and it will be recognized in the game.


On the PS2 version of the game, the radio stations are far less dynamic than those of GTA San Andreas. Noticeably, if the player exits a vehicle and re-enters a few moments later, either the station will change or the audio file will reset.


  • The mission pattern in the game is similar to Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. The pattern is Portland to Staunton to Shoreside Vale and back to Portland again. In GTA San Andreas, the island pattern is Los Santos to San Fierro to Las Venturas, and then back to Los Santos.
  • This is the last game in the series that lacks the ability for the protagonist to swim.
  • When the player completes the mission Crazy 69, Toni will unlock the Dragon Suit. This is a reference to the film Kill Bill where the main character wears exactly the same outfit and carries a Katana, and "Crazy '69' involved a Katana.
  • GTA Liberty City Stories is the third best-selling game available on the PSP.
  • GTA Liberty City Stories is the only game in the 3D Universe not to include police roadblocks.
  • Coastguards were planned to appear in the game during production but removed because of the pipes stretching along the river. Dialogue for the Coastguard can still be found within the game.
  • The AI for NPCs appear to be much more aggressive than other 3D Universe games in the series.
  • GTA Liberty City Stories is the first game in the series that allows the player to sprint whilst carrying a two-handed weapon.
  • The iOS port of the game had a glitch where the game would crash once the mission Calm Before the Storm is played. This glitch didn't appear in the Android version, however. The glitch was patched with the 1.2 version of the game.
  • On September 29th, 2017, the ESRB re-rated multiple games from Rockstar, one of which was GTA Liberty City Stories. It was believed that this may indicate a possible re-release for the PlayStation 4, however this never came to fruition.
  • The game features several homages to various media about the Italian Mafia. To just name several references, the Goodfella Outfit available for Toni to wear in the game is named after the classic crime film, Goodfellas, the Wiseguy Outfit's style is similar to clothing the protagonist of The Sopranos, Tony Soprano, wears in the show, and Uncle Leone bears a physical resemblance to Don Altobello from The Godfather: Part III, while the storyline of his rivalry with his nephew Salvatore Leone may be a reference to the rivalry between Tony Soprano and his uncle Junior Soprano in The Sopranos.

Further Reading

External links

Official sites

Teaser sites